Novels with original music, and other artistic pairings

One of the novels with original musicI am fascinated by creative works that link two or more types of art. Most often the pairing involves fiction and actual music, but other combinations occur as well, including non-fiction, art, and film. I am not referring to books turned into movies, or vice-versa, but rather distinct artistic works created explicitly to complement one another. Sometimes the works are free-standing (perhaps even created at different times), but sometimes they are packaged together. Not many examples exist, but the past decade has seen a growing interest in such efforts. I was an early innovator who pioneered such pairings with my book and album Song of Fire. Let’s take a look at all the examples I have been able to find. Continue reading →

Musical perception in 2022: Is music dead?

Musical perception: Is music dead?Music expert Rick Beato recently posted a video, “Why Gen Z Doesn’t Care About Music,” offering his opinion on young people’s relative disinterest in music compared to previous generations. He cautions that his view is a generalization. Many young people still care about music, of course. But he cites a preoccupation with video games as the main culprit in the demise of musical perception. With its focus on visuals and its addictive quality, he believes it leaves little room for other pursuits. He formed this opinion after talking to plenty of Gen Z youth and observing their habits. I don’t know whether this is accurate or not, but I do know there has been a qualitative shift. The most interesting facet is the comments that viewers have posted. Continue reading →

The problem with Netflix’s Archive 81

Dan restores videotapes in Archive 81
Archive 81 is a mess.

I really wanted to like the series. I delight in a horror story in which music plays a role. It has a wonderful and diverse cast. But there are so many problems with the story, both large and small. The plot follows Dan, who restores archival footage and is hired to repair videotapes from a mysterious fire that destroyed the Visser apartment building in 1994. We watch him watching the parallel story of Melody, who moved into the Visser with her camcorder as part of a documentary project and disappeared in the fire, leaving behind the damaged tapes. Melody discovers that her strange neighbors are part of a cult involving human sacrifice. As her situation grows perilous, strange incidents begin plaguing Dan as well. Let’s take a look at how this narrative fails so miserably. Continue reading →

The 10 most beautiful, melodic languages

beautiful languagesChoosing the most beautiful languages poses a challenge. First of all, “beautiful” is a subjective term. What appeals to one person may not appeal to another. Secondly, the profusion of closely related languages makes it difficult to choose only one representative from a group. Finally, who among us has heard every language on earth to be able to winnow the list down to the top ten? For my list, I picked ten especially melodic languages. I present them alphabetically rather than ranked. Some of these are tonal, where shifts in pitch change the meaning of words and automatically produce a musical shape. Others have evolved especially mellifluous structures and sounds. Obviously, different speakers will have different vocal qualities, so these choices are based on generalizations. My concept of “beautiful” incorporates three qualities: Continue reading →